Calliope Tsoupaki


Calliope Tsoupaki (Piraeus, Greece, 1963) makes music that has a mood of timelessness. Her objective is expressing the essence as simply and clearly as possible. In her compositions she uses elements of early and contemporary music as well as the music of Greece and the Middle East. Combining these aspects, she skillfully creates a completely personal style.

Her music is praised for its melodic character, warm sound and emotional quality. To date her oeuvre consists of more than 100 works for diverse instrumentation and instruments from different cultures (qanun, ney, kemençe, hurdy gurdy, vielle, viola da gamba, pan flute), from solo to orchestral works, choral music, dance, theatre, opera and multi-sensory projects.

  • 2018 – 2021 Componist des Vaderlands (Composer Laureate)
  • Commissions for the Holland Festival in 2018, 2015, 2014, 2010 and 2008
  • Guest Composer during the international “Young Composers Meeting” in Apeldoorn
  • 2015 and 2006 Member of the jury International Gaudeamus Music Week
  • 2001 Composer in residence Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam
  • 1998 Composer in residence IEMA Centre Contemporary Music Athens
  • 1997 Nomination NPS Cultural Prize
  • 1996 Sappho’s Tears nomination International Rostrum of Composers (UNESCO)

She has developed into one of the most defining composers of Dutch musical life, collaborating with, among others, Pierre Audi, Markus Stenz, Paul Koek, Jordi Savall, Kees Boeke, Frances-Marie Uitti, Bruce Dickey, and ensembles including the Metropole Orchestra, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Netherlands Bach Society, Ensemble Tetraktys, Neue Vocalisten Stuttgart, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble, Nieuw Amsterdams Peil, Ergon Ensemble and Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Overwhelming successes include her operas Fortress Europe and Mariken in the Garden of Delights (nomination Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2017), St. Luke Passion, song cycle Face of Love for singer Nena Venetsanou, oratorio Oidipous (nomination Matthijs Vermeulen Prize 2014), Narcissus (a play for music and scent), Maria for the Netherlands Wind Ensemble, the chamber operas Dark (about Joan of Arc, libretto Edzard Mik), Vita Nova (based on Dante’s book of the same title) and her three works for string quartet under the title Triptychon recorded on CD by the Doelen String Quartet (honorary mention from the Union of Greek Theatre and Music Critics in cooperation with the Foundation of Culture, Sport and Youth of the City of Athens). Click here to read more about her major works.

Her opera Fortress Europe (Opera Trionfo, Asko|Schönberg Ensemble & Netherlands Student Chamber Choir) is about one of the most important issues of our time: the refugee crisis. With an unprecedented number of scheduled performances, this work received rave reviews. The world premiere took place on March 20, 2017 during the Opera Forward Festival 2017 in Amsterdam.

In 2015, her opera Mariken in the Garden of Delights (OPERA2DAY & Asko|Schönberg Ensemble) based on a late medieval Dutch text, also had numerous performances in the Netherlands and immediately met great acclaim.

Her two double concertos Tragoudi for Eric Vloeimans, trumpet and Kinan Azmeh, clarinet & the Metropole orchestra (premiere Royal Theatre Carré-Holland Festival 2018) and Salto di Saffo for Erik Bosgraaf, recorder and Matthijs Koene, pan flute and the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra (premiere Concertgebouw-NTR ZaterdagMatinee October 2018) were very successfully applauded and embraced by the audience, and the critics, with four and five star reviews at “het Parool” and NRC newspaper.

For Festival November Music, Tsoupaki wrote Bosch Requiem 2019, Liknon. At this moment she is writing a new requiem for the choir Ad Parnassum; this Byzantine requiem will be premiered on 1 November 2020 at the Koningshoeven Abbey.

Tsoupaki has been living in the Netherlands since 1988 and teaches composition at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. On the 25th of November 2018 she was appointed as Composer Laureate of the Netherlands

Calliope Tsoupaki’s music is published by DONEMUS and is performed at contemporary music festivals (Holland Festival, Focus Festival NY, November Music, Gaudeamus), in major concert halls including Carnegie Hall and the Alice Tully Hall in New York, Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Royal Theater Carré, Megaron in Athens, Muziekgebouw aan het IJ, Stadsschouwburg in Amsterdam and is available on CD and DVD.